A Harvard University study published in 2008 found the first compelling evidence that the Relaxation Response (RR) – the physiological response to meditation, yoga, tai chi, Qi Gong or repetitive prayer – affects our genes. Nineteen adults were long-term daily practitioners of various RR techniques, 20 were trained in RR eliciting techniques (breathing, mantra and mindfulness meditation) for 8 weeks, and 19 served as controls.
I recently read about an amazing story of the power of the placebo effect. It was recorded in 1957 and demonstrates just how powerful the human mind can be. A patient had advanced cancer of the lymph nodes (lymphoma) and was told that he had no more than a few weeks to live. He couldn’t get radiotherapy or chemotherapy because he was anaemic but he had heard of a new experimental anti-cancer drug called Krebiozen and begged his doctor to give him some. So the doctor gave him an injection of it.
I often wonder about the timing of events. Just the other day Elizabeth and I were walking our dog Oscar (now ten and a half months old, if you’ve been following his progress ) towards the park in the morning.
A study published by medics at McMaster Children’s Hospital in Hamilton, Ontario, showed that Therapeutic Touch (TT) – the laying on of hands – benefited premature infants. It was a double blind and randomized trial involving 20 infants of gestational age less than 29 weeks. Ten received 5-minute TT sessions on 3 consecutive days and ten did not. Measurements of Heart Period Variability (HPV) were taken 5 minutes before, during and after the treatment.
This apparent paradox is inherent to life. It’s built into the side effects of kindness. You only gain (in terms of mental and physical health) if you’re not trying to gain. It’s an example of a catch-22
Our species, Homo sapiens, branched off from other species around 260,000 years ago and lived their lives in Africa’s tropical savanna, having migrated previously from the lush Makgadikgadi-Okavango wetland...
I often ask audiences the question, “What is the opposite of stress?” Most people offer that it’s “peace” or “calm” or “tranquillity,” or something along those lines. It’s natural to think this, because when we feel stressed, we naturally want to feel calm instead.
Most people nowadays have heard of mindfulness. The simplest form of mindfulness is to breathe and to simply notice that it’s what you’re doing right now. So you might place your attention on what breathing feels like for you or notice what it sounds like.